Northern Approaches Canada and the Search for Peace

By James Eayrs | Go to book overview
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There are two difficulties about discussing the foreign and defence policies of governments as close to us as the Governments of Canada during the last ten years or so. One is dealing with events so recent and so stirring that they still rouse high emotion. Arnold Toynbee reminds us that twentieth century historians become heated in writing about the heretical Egyptian pharoah Akhenaton, even though the events in which he was so controversial a figure took place as long ago as the fourteenth century before Christ. How, then, are we to deal impartially with latter-day pharoahs like President Nasser, let alone with our own statesmen's response to their challenge? It wasn't over three thousand years ago, it was barely five years ago, that Mr. L. S. St. Laurent was telling the House of Commons how scandalized he was by "the supermen of Europe", that the present Secretary of State for External Affairs accused the government of being a chore-boy for the United States, that the present Leader of the Opposition retorted that it was worse to be a colonial chore-boy running around crying "Ready, aye ready". Then there is the difficulty of getting at the sources. James Bryce once asked the German historian Mommsen why he didn't continue his great History of Rome down to Constantine or Theodosius; but Mommsen merely raised his eyebrows and said: "What authorities are there beyond court tittle-tattle?" The historian of recent Canadian external policy hasn't even court tittle-tattle to help him out: the Department of External Affairs are a closed-lipped bunch, Mr. St. Laurent is writing no memoirs, and while Mr. J. W. Pickersgill has given us a version of his master's diary, he has yet to publish a record of his own.

Most of the essays in this collection are therefore necessarily neither the product of immense research nor recollected in tran


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Northern Approaches Canada and the Search for Peace


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